Looking for the latest in herb tech and green cuisine? You need Basilworld. Prefer arresting watches and tempting timepieces? Try Baselworld.
No aroma for us: we didn’t get tickets for the former this year, but our recent trip to the world’s biggest watch fair more than made up for any feelings of leafy let-down.
From reimagined classics to futuristic tickers, the 2019 edition of die grosse Swiss show didn’t disappoint when it came to fresh horological fare – and that’s before we saw the smart stuff.
Can’t tell a sports watch from a quartz watch? We traipsed the halls of Basel on your behalf to find nine of the best new pieces hitting shelves very soon. Sadly, none of them can season a pizza.
Marloe Haskell Black Edition (£745)
Commemorating Captain Scott’s ill-fated attempt on the South Pole at the end of 1911, Marloe’s Haskell is a fitting tribute to the man who sacrificed everything in the name of exploration.
Now back in stunning black, the Oxfordshire watchmaker’s Swiss ticker remembers the Terra Nova expedition with a symbolic penguin atop the earth on the rear of its case, plus five stars for the men of Scott’s crew who never made it back.
More than that, the Haskell – named after an Antarctic strait – is a fitting piece for the adventurer about town: water-resistant and capped with sapphire crystal, it’s tough enough for anything your daily grind can throw at it. Unless it involves scrambling over icebergs.
Casio GMW-B5000V-1 Vintage Style ($1000)
Call it a cynical cash-in, but Casio’s reimagined retro throwback is no cheap repeat: keeping the square case that made it a legend, the design classic is back with a full metal jacket.
As tough as the original G-Shock, the B5000V has been run through the mill for black-aged ion-plating. The result? A timepiece right out of Terminator.
Pairing a vintage finish with rugged looks good enough for Arnie, it’s got shock-resistance to match the mean physique and should last for decades, armageddon or otherwise.
Mondaine Essence (£169)
Mondaine made its name creating clocks for Swiss railways – and it was presumably on a panoramic Alpine train ride that the firm was hit by the need to be green.
Meet the latest Essence: a minimalist watch with eco-friendly credentials. Fronted by the pared-back face so familiar to fans of the name, the new version of the understated number uses renewable castor oil for its case and recycled fabric for its strap, all stored in a pouch crafted from old plastic bottles.
Sustainable, stylish and built by the Swiss, here’s hoping the world’s been saved by the time you have to buy another.
Bulova Computron (from £199)
Bulova’s original digital ticker first showed its sci-fi face back in the Seventies – and it remains a glorious slice of retro future-gazing today.
Love the look but don’t want to go pre-owned? Good news: the American brand has announced an angular revival.
Taking cues from its spiritual forebear, the born-again Bulova is nothing if not distinctive. Styled like the offspring of a DeLorean and Jeff Bridges' bedside clock, it ships in stainless steel or black rubber – or you can shell out another 50 for the gold-plated Del Boy look.
Victorinox I.N.O.X. Carbon (£769)
Watches can’t fight fires, but for everything else there’s I.N.O.X. – a carbon-wrapped wrist clock that can truly take the heat.
Put through some 130 extreme tests during its development – so you know it’ll survive the rush-hour Tube – this special-edition run of the rugged Victorinox ships in a ‘firetruck red’ box and packs a neon paracord strap that’s as lightweight as it is unmissable.
And in case you hadn’t got the whole ‘this watch is really heroic’ vibe, it also comes with a matching rescue tool, as used by actual firemen in Switzerland and New York. Which, as endorsements go, is pretty darn cool. Or hot, as the case may be.
Bell & Ross BR03-MA1 (£2990)
As any military aficionado will know, surprise is an indispensable tool. And that’s as much the case in watchmaking as it is in warfare.
Take this limited-run number from Bell & Ross, long-time supplier to pilots the world over – or, rather, over the world. With a bold but understated face, the BR 03-92 MA-1 packs a matte khaki ceramic shell and matching leather strap, inspired by the bomber jackets of the US Air Force in the late Fifties.
So far, so camouflaged. Until you flip it, that is, and – papa tango! – the reversible strap reveals itself be bright orange underneath, in the greatest act of unexpected brightness since Bucks Fizz.
Casio G-Shock MTG-B1000RB (£950)
If Unikitty needs a reason to drop in on Wyldstyle to boast about Bluetooth synchronicity and Multi-Band Atomic 6 timekeeping, this technicolour ticker from Casio should just about do it.
Celebrating 20 years of G-Shock’s Metal Twisted series, the B1000RB isn’t built from bricks but it does wear a rainbow shade befitting the queen of Cloud Cuckoo Land.
Ion-plated to resemble petrol on a rainy day, it’s solar-powered, radio-controlled and sure to get you noticed on your next visit to The Coffee Chain.
Gucci Grip (£1050)
For a fashion brand, Gucci does a great job of dividing with style. And, for all the marketing guff about the Seventies skateboarding scene, its Grip watch does a stellar impression of a set of bathroom scales.
Still, if washroom chic is what you want from your watch, its latest horological effort is the way to go.
Fronted by a shiny, squared-off face, a pair of dials indicate the time while a date hole tells you, well, the date. There’s no option for your weight, though. Which seems stingy, given the price.
Rolex GMT-Master II (£7150)
No amount of business-class booze can fend off the dreaded jet lag, but a Rolex on your wrist can at least ease the pain of continent-hopping confusion. And not just because it’s a two-tone ceramic masterpiece favoured by the highest of flyers.
See, the GMT-Master II has long been the watch of choice for seasoned jet-setters thanks to its support for two time zones: an additional 24-hour hand means that even if you’re sleepless in Seattle, you’ll know the hour in Osaka.
And this latest iteration packs the patented Calibre 3285 mechanical movement, a self-winding chronometer that’s both supremely accurate and impervious to magnetic interference – so your Bermuda Triangle excuse won’t fly when you’re late to the buffet.